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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 9, 2015

Charlotte Man Sentenced In Luxury Automobile Fraud Scheme

Defendant Carried Out Scheme While on Supervised Release for Previous Bank Fraud Conviction

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Michael A. Marshall, 38, of Charlotte, was sentenced today to serve 96 months in prison and to pay $425,442 as restitution for committing bank fraud and related charges, in connection with an automobile loan scheme involving luxury vehicles, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  Chief U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney ordered Marshall to serve the 96-month sentence consecutive to the sentence Marshall previously received for a probation violation from his prior federal felony.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by Ryan L. Spradlin, Special Agent in Charge of ICE/Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Georgia and the Carolinas.

According to filed court documents and court proceedings, from August 2012 to February 2013, Marshall and his co-defendant, Frederick D. Neal, engaged in a fraudulent loan scheme involving luxury vehicles the men purchased in Neal’s name.  Court records show that Marshall generally provided the down-payment money for the purchase of the vehicles, and arranged to finance the rest via automobile loans in Neal’s name.  Court records indicate that the conspirators obtained the loans by making false statements on the loan applications to the automobile lenders, including falsely claiming that Neal earned over $8,000 per month.

According to court records, the two men fraudulently obtained at least seven luxury vehicles, including a 2009 Maserati Grand Turismo, a 2006 Bentley, a 2011 Porsche Panamera and a 2009 Mercedes Benz SL550, among others.  Marshall and Neil “leased” some of the vehicles to others through “Luxotic Rentals, Inc.” (Luxotic), a company controlled by Marshall.  Eventually, the vehicles were fraudulently sold to third parties, after “wiping” their titles shortly after obtaining them, according to court records.  To get the clean titles, Marshall created fake letters from the automobile lenders purporting to be lien releases for the vehicles, falsely stating that the liens were paid off.  Marshall then filed the false lien releases with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles to request and obtain new titles.  According to court records, using the new, clean titles, Marshall sold the vehicles to third parties, as if the luxury vehicles were owned free and clear of any liens.  According to court records, the scheme caused the lenders a loss of approximately $425,442.

In May 2014, a federal jury found Marshall guilty of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, including making false statements to financial institutions, bank fraud and money laundering conspiracy.  Neal was sentenced in February 2015 to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $425,442 as restitution, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States.

The investigation was handled by HSI with the assistance of the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Zolot prosecuted the case.

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In a related case, on Wednesday, July 8, 2015, Judge Whitney sentenced Seth Kamose Ali, 42, of Charlotte, to 18 months in prison for assaulting an officer.  Court records indicate that while investigating Marshall’s case, law enforcement determined that Ali had notarized at least four of the fraudulent lien release documents used by Marshall to obtain the clean car titles.  According to court records, when a federal agent attempted to serve Ali with a trial subpoena in connection with Marshall’s case, Ali slammed his car door on the agent’s hand and attempted to flee by driving his vehicle at high speed toward the agent.  A federal jury convicted Ali of assaulting an officer, including acts involving physical contact and inflicting bodily injury.    

This investigation was handled by HSI.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelli Ferry of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte handled the prosecution.

Updated July 9, 2015